Shan Goshorn's photographs, from self-portrait to documentation, share one common characteristic: she tries to portray not only the outer reality of her subjects but their essence as well. Her series Coming into Power ( 1987) is a set of ten hand-tinted and hand‐ painted black and white self-portraits that visually represent her path of spiritual awakening. Each portrait depicts the artist in a kneeling, meditative position, surrounded by colors and forms. In Recognizing the Positive Universe the artist seems to float in a star-filled universe; in Harmony and Balance within the Sacred Hoop of Life, a circle of energy emanates from and envelops the artist. Its sequence of imagery "symbolizes the transition from being aware of the need for meditation and guidance to realizing power through spiritual direction, and learning how to apply this power in life to achieve good." 1
Another series, Honoring the Sacred Wheel ( 1988), is a testimony to the endurance of Native people. In it she honors the continuity of the generations and connects their endurance to the four sacred directions and to the unending cycles of the moon.
Goshorn achieves her striking effects by tinting and painting black and white photographs with an opaque photo oil, which blocks out sections of the print. In this way, she can manipulate the image to